Hitler and Homeschooling

Originally Published March 17, 2007. Update: Homeschooler flees foster care to reunite with her family. Both sides are sure they have the monopoly on truth when it comes to the taking of a homeschooled German girl by State authorities. The undisputed truth is that Germany is not friendly to homeschooling families.

She was falling behind in two of her subjects at school. So her parents took her out of school and began homeschooling her where they could devote more time to her education. Her five siblings are still in the German public schools.

It is being claimed by some news organizations that a Hitler decree about home-schooling is still in effect.

In 1937, the dictator said, "The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing."

The Home School Legal Defense Association reports that several families have been forced by the state to put the children back in the public schools.

German law still requires public education for all children.

In the case of Melissa Busekros, if a hand-written letter by her can be trusted, she wants to be back with her family again. She is currently in a foster home, and her family members are allowed to see her once a week.

By why is she in the foster home? The family says that their rights are being taken away, plain and simple. But the German authorities have a different version:

However the Erlangen authorities deny that the case is related to the parents' decision to take the girl out of school. "The case has nothing to do with home schooling," Edeltraud Höllerer from the Erlangen Youth Welfare Office told SPIEGEL ONLINE, adding she could not discuss details of the case for legal reasons.

It's hard, based on scant evidence, to know what the truth is. But the other five children are still in the family home. Germany has a no-tolerance policy for homeschooling. Melissa's letter said she wants to be back with her family.

In response to the family's plea, Wolfgang Drautz, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany, said

If we are to achieve integration, not only must the majority of the population prevent the ostracization of religious minorities or minorities with different world views, but minorities must also remain open and engage in dialogue with those who think differently or share different beliefs.

Article 7 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (the German constitution) places the entire school system under the supervision of the government and ensures that the government makes education available to every citizen. Homeschool may be equally effective in terms of test scores. It is important to keep in mind, however, that school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens.

A German court recently decided in favor of the state, saying in effect that state planning trumps parental desires.

I side with the family and against the state.

Update April 23, 2007 - To the surprise of her parents, Melissa showed up at her family's home at 3 AM this morning. She left a note for her foster family telling them she was leaving. Her birthday was today, and as a result of having turned 16 years of age, her legal status has changed. Good for her and her family. It's unfortunate that the German government felt they had power to intervene in the family's life in such an unnatural way in the first place.


  1. Who wants to side with Hitler? If Hitler's on someone's side, that isn't a good sign for that someone.

    You might like the Education Forums about Homeschooling and Unschooling.

  2. When my parents returned from 18 months in Germany, my Dad remarked that it was good to be back home in America. I said that I thought he had just spent 18 months "back home" in his native country. That's when Dad taught me an important lesson.

    He said that within a short time of getting back to Germany, he was reminded of all of the reasons he left in the first place. He said, "Those people were messed up back then and they are even worse today. You can't have an intelligent conversation with them about any of the most significant issues of the day without them digging in their ideological heels."

    How blessed I am that my father became an American.

  3. I served an LDS mission in Austria, and when it came to religion, they were very closed-minded. As though a discussion might indicate to them their fallacies, which they did not want to know about.

  4. I don't disagree with the German officials that public schooling offers community integration. But it should be up to the parents to determine whether that is a benefit or not.

    My Dad grew up in Germany during Hitler's reign. Many teachers were replaced with Nazi Party members (regardless of qualifications). To this day, Dad says, "They didn't know how to teach. All they knew was how to beat the hell out of you."

    Who needs this type of community integration? We should trust parents to make those decisions and then be accountable for their decisions.


Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting. If you have a Google/Blogger account, to be apprised of ongoing comment activity on this article, please click the "Subscribe" link below.

Popular posts from this blog